The RSJ Teach-In, Why Journalism Matters, had numerous guest speakers come in to talk about major issues within society that are greatly covered in the media today.
I went to two sessions that covered topics like islamophobia, identity, immigration and refugees. These were all topics that are prevalent today, especially during this era of Donald Trump as president of the United States.
One of the sessions was a reading of Kamal Al-Solaylee’s book, Brown. Although I am already familiar with the context of the book, having oppurtunity to hear Al-Solaylee read it himself and to hear his commentary created a great learning experience for me. I felt that this particular session was extremely affective in providing information on what it means to be brown in the world today. Due to the fact that the book itself provided personal narratives of individuals throughout the world who are ‘brown’ – the reading was able to add a personal touch to the topic. It was an unconventional way of learning – and it was compelling to listen to.
The session that followed consisted of a panel of two speakers who spoke about immigration, refugees and permanent residents. Graham Hudson, a criminology professor at Ryerson, first educated us on the concept of refugees and the rights they have. His presentation was immensely insightful. It provided us with key facts and laws about refugees and immigration that most of the audience were likely to be unaware of.
The part of his presentation that I found the most fascinating was when he talked about sanctuary cities. Hudson explained why Toronto is not a sanctuary city. Although the city was declared a sanctuary city in 2014, the city police were still conducting identity checks even though undocumented citizens are still entitled to the right of public services. As journalism students, I believe that this is an essential fact that we should be educated on, especially with the issues arising, surrounding undocumented citizens.
Overall, I felt that the Teach-In gave me the opportunity to gain insight and a different perspective on certain subject matter that is important in today’s society.